In the aftermath of New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s orange-sweatered soiree with Jerry and Stephen Jones, a serious question emerged regarding the decision of the Cowboys owner to pay for Christie’s plane fare and ticket to the Lions-Cowboys playoff game.
Jones co-owns Legends Hospitality, which does business with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As a result, Christie’s acceptance of those gifts raises ethics questions, because he runs the Port Authority along with New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Since the controversy first emerged, the International Business Times has reported that “government documents show Christie personally pushed the Port Authority to approve a lucrative contract” with Legends Hospitality. New Jersey ethics rules prevent public officials from accepting gifts from persons whom public officials “deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business.”
On Wednesday, Jones appeared on ESPN’s NFL Insiders. And he was asked about the controversy.
“There has been some controversy out here on the East Coast, the fact that you are picking up the tab for Governor Christie and they are disappointed that he would take advantage of that,” Chris Mortensen said to Jones. “How do you respond?”
While the question didn’t specifically mention business interests or ethics rules, Jones completely avoided the subject of paying for Christie to come to the game.
“Let’s be true,” Jones said. “One thing about him, does anyone think he doesn’t tell it like it is and tell the truth? Now, the truth is he’s been a Cowboy fan his entire adult life. He and his wife used to on a vacation use their money to come all the way to Texas to come to a Cowboy game. [They] were so limited on their money that they couldn’t even buy parking. They had to park far enough away to walk without paying. Now, all I’m saying is that’s a Cowboy fan. But more important than anything, and you hit it right, Mort, is the mojo. Let me tell you, if he’s got enough mojo to pull this thing off for this Cowboy team this year, I’m for him being president of the United States. U.S. could use mojo.”
Jones also made it clear that Christie and his mojo will be in Green Bay.
“Yes he will, if I’ve got anything to do about it,” Jones said. “And I’m going to try to have a lot to do about it. And I want that orange sweater. We want him there. You know, we’ve had him in the locker room. It feels good to have him there. And we do need all hands on deck to get past these — come close to these Packers.”
It’s unclear whether Jones once again will pay for Christie’s plane fare and/or ticket. If neither believed there was anything wrong with it last weekend, they presumably think it’s OK this weekend.
Meanwhile, we’re asking for both Jones and Christie to appear on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio to clear this issue up. The orange sweater is optional. Especially since Christie would be appearing by, you know, phone.